Sunday, January 6, 2008

NCLB Resolutions

A new year, a new start, and an upcoming new session of my state's legislature where something not so new, NCLB, is again a hot issue. When the session opens in February, it is likely there will be a proposal in the Senate to end Minnesota's participation in NCLB, an action that has been proposed in the past by the Democrats, but this year it will be proposed by the Republicans!

From Minneapolis StarTribune Jan. 2 article:
"What we want is to make a real firm stand for local control," said Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, who added that he represents Senate Republicans on this issue. "We've had five years of the No Child Left Behind regime, and I think it's safe to call it a failure now. We're giving it an F and trying to take back our schools."

There's been no response from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty – not surprising since he has Vice Presidential aspirations.

While there is a feeling among state legislators that NCLB is no longer a state action, it's also true that the consequences and the funding of the increasingly numerous and complex federal education proposals are state responsibilities. And the state needs to pay attention as its education resources are co-opted as more and more districts, including my own, are forced to spend human and financial capital developing complex "improvement plans" based on impossibly unrealistic expectations for very small disaggregate populations.

My school's plan was necessitated by a small number of special education students who are now in the high school, which doesn't have to write a plan.

I'm eager for Minnesota to emulate Nebraska and regain our tradition of education excellence and progressivism. I'm attending my precinct caucus on February 5 to declare that it's past time for our state to wait and see what Congress does. Any changes in elected officials are a year away. It is time that state actions put pressure on Congress to listen to education and testing experts, to look at school and classroom realities, to put students above political rhetoric, and to provide federal funding for federal mandates.

That's my story. I'd love to hear yours. What's the outlook in your state? In your school?

[To keep in touch with NCTE's NCLB reform efforts and for resources in taking action yourself, check out NCTE's Education Issues Action Center.]


R. Edwards said...

I am afraid Texas is stuck in the "red state" mentality. I don't see any response to NCLB, other than more of the "blame the teacher" rhetoric. When I see our state tests compared to the national tests, I see a real reason for national tests. As a person that lost his job to globalization, I get frustrated with parents that think their kids competition is only the next town down the road. It reminds me that experience is a hard teacher, and it doesn't grade on a curve or handout 50s as a minimum grade.

Anonymous said...

Connecticut tried to fight it in the courts. It is widely advertised how much new money was being put into the educational field by NCLB. What was not widely publicized was the wide expenditures that states had to make to devleop the tests to be eligible for funding. Both Connecticut and Vermont had accountants tally the results of spending versus income and found that in fact the education sector had suffered from decling funding when the money spent to develop testing wwas removed. This is what triggered the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General in Connecticut. With no little surprise, the Supreme Court through out the case. Nothing has changed. We have almost one third of our schools on the list which is scary because Connecitcut is supposedly number 2 on the NAEP results. It is hard to believe that there are so many states ahead of us with less of their schools on the list, but who trail us in the NAEP results. Something is wrong with this picture. In fact some of those states touting their strong positive results, show no change in their NAEP status. Perhaps Connecituct should lower its passing scoreand then NCLB would be satisfied andthe Lake Woebegone Effect will be in place where all of our Connecticut children are above average.

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